Course Information

Meetings: Tuesday, 3-5:30pm, Business Admin E202
Instructor: Wayne Buente
Office hours: Monday and Wednesday, 3-5pm or by appointment
(808) 956-3360 (phone)

Course description

This course surveys recent research on social media with particular attention to the idea of the networked public. Interactive technologies have "generated new forms of communication, in social networking sites and other systems, which bridge the structural and functional characteristics of mass/interpersonal/peer communication" (Walther et al., 2011, p. 18). As a result, there is an emerging pattern of networked sociality that "combine old and newer social habits, reform and remediate several social routines of the past, and reflect social tendencies and tensions that take shape on networked planes of social activity" (Papacharissi, 2011, p. 316).

Social media affords the opportunity to construct, validate, and remix one's identity online by providing a stage for self-presentation and social connection. As a result, social media allows one to take on a number of roles such as citizens in networked publics and students as social connectors.

Social media also complicates what is considered public. Audiences, contexts, and publics are blurred and how one understands publicness online is "shaped by the architecture and affordances of social media" and also "by people's social contexts, identities, and practices" (Baym & boyd, 2012, p. 320). We will examine social media from a variety of perspectives.

By the end of the semester, you will be able to:

  • Understand the idea of the networked self, networked sociality, and networked publics.
  • Familiarize yourself with a wide range of issues raised by social media.
  • Engage in research that explores major issues and concerns in social media.


Readings will be provided through Laulima.  We will read a few chapters from the following titles. I recommend aquiring the readings below for your own social media research collection.

Hinton, S. (2013). Understanding social media (1st ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Papacharissi, Z. (Ed.). (2011). A networked self: Identity, community and culture on social network sites. New York: Routledge.

Noor Al-Deen, H. S., & Hendricks, J. A. (2012). Social media: Usage and impact. Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books.

Dijck, J. v. (2013). The culture of connectivity: A critical history of social media. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press.

Course assignments

Readings will typically be assigned for each class period and the latest information about reading will be listed in Laulima.  Please come prepared.  Class discussions are important especially for small class sizes.  Your grade will be based on the following:

Participation                   10%
Midterm                         15%
Case study/Assignment   10%
Lead discussant             20%
Emails                          10%
Final Paper                   35%

In-class participation
Class participation is expected. Class participation takes the form of asking and answering questions, summarizing and adding insights related to readings, debating issues, and other forms of "active" involvement in class. Attendance, though expected, does not constitute participation.

Lead discussant
The professor will lead the class discussion the first few sessions. Starting on the third session, students will take on this responsiblity for the remaining classes during the semester. Students, thus, will take turns being the lead discussant for the remaning weeks of the semester. We will set a beginning schedule on the first day of class. If students miss one of their "lead discussant" days, they will receive a "0" for that portion of the assignment.

On days that you are the lead discussant, you should do the following:
1. Create a single-sided one-page overview of each reading (double-sided two-page overview for
each book). Bring enough copies to class for each student and the professor.

2. Plan what you will do in the class. You should begin with at least 10-12 minutes of "lecture" type
material--where you lay out the basic theory/topic and direction of the article. You should make
sure that students understand clearly the concepts and their relationships present in the study.
What are the conceptual and operational definitions? What is "new" about the study?
You should also have a plan for a discussion to follow, with questions to ask and other means of
spurring class discussion.

3. This is your class. Come prepared to be the teacher.

Emails related to class readings
Students need to send an email related to each set of assigned readings to the professor and the lead discussant. The email should include two things. First, it should answer the question, "What's new?" In other words, you should consider the reading and explain what advancement the study offers. Second, you should pose two questions that can be potentially used to generate class discussion, as well as related thoughts. These emails must be sent by 6pm on Tuesday.

Research paper
The research assignment is designed to give students the opportunity to create a research paper that can be developed for a possible thesis topic. The paper may focus on any aspect of social media broadly defined. Detail for the final paper will be provided in class by Week 3. The paper should be about 15-20 pages long, 12 size font, double-spaced, using APA style.

Completed papers will be presented in class at the end of the semester. Students should treat the presentations as though they are conference presentations.


The grading criteria are taken from Appendix C in
Enerson, D. M., Johnson, R. N., Milner, S., & Plank, K. M. (1997). The Penn State Teacher II. University Park, PA: Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.
Retrieved August 22, 2011, from

Grading Criteria
These grading standards establish four major criteria for evaluation at each grade level: rhetorical situation, reasoning and content, organization and expression. Since papers may have some characteristics of "B" and others of "C," the final grade depends on the weight the instructor gives to each criterion. A paper grossly inadequate in one area may still receive a very low grade even if it successfully meets the other criteria. A brief summary of the grading criteria is provided below. Please consult the grading criteria in Appendix C for a more detailed explanation.

The "A" Paper: An "A" paper is clear and consistent and the content is appropriate for the assignment. It also demonstrates clear organization and expression.

The "B" Paper: The "B" paper shows an awareness of the audience and purpose. Its content is reasonably well developed with adequate evidence. The organization is clear and expression is competent.

The "C" Paper: The "C" paper has a clear purpose but lacks originality in topic selection. The content is adequately developed and supported with valid reasoning. Organization is clear with mechanical but appropriate transitions. The paper also demonstrates mastery of most conventions of edited English.

The "D" Paper: The "D" paper has a unclear purpose and an inappropriate topic for its intended audience. The content is inadequately developed and evidence is insufficient. The paper also shows flawed reasoning. Organization is deficient and the paper exhibits poor grammar.

The "F" Paper: The "F" paper has no clear purpose or remotely appropriate for its intended audience. The content is not developed nor adequately supported. The paper has no organization and serious errors with English comprehension.


I expect you to be at all class sessions.  Excessive absences that are not excused will lower your final grade.

The School of Communications M.A. Program primarily offers instruction in a face-to-face classroom setting where students are expected to be physically present during appointed class dates and times. Occasionally a course may be offered that is conducted online (e.g., distance education) or partially online (e.g., a combination of face-to-face and online meetings). However, unless otherwise specified, instructors who teach in a real-time classroom setting have designed their courses with that meeting format in mind. Students registering for such courses agree to abide by that format since accommodating special requests for alternative participation methods could be distracting to other students as well as interfere with instructional goals for the course. Thank you for your cooperation.

Course schedule

Week 1 Intro and Web 2.0

Chapters 1 and 2
Hinton, S. (2013). Understanding social media (1st ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Week 2 Social Network Sites

boyd, d. m., & Ellison, N. B. (2007). Social network sites: Definition, history, and scholarship. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(1), article 11. Retrieved from

Ellison, N. B. & boyd, d. (2013). Sociality through Social Network Sites. In Dutton, W. H. (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Internet Studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 151-172.

Baym, N. K. (2011). Social Networks 2.0. In M. Consalvo & C. Ess (Eds.), The handbook of internet studies (pp. 384-405). Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

Week 3 Networked Publics, Socially-Mediated Publicness and Context Collapse

Chapter 2, A Networked Self

Davis, J. L., & Jurgenson, N. (2014). Context collapse: Theorizing context collusions and collisions. Information, Communication & Society, 17(4), 476-485. doi: 10.1080/1369118X.2014.888458

Marwick, A. E., & boyd, d. (2011). I tweet honestly, I tweet passionately: Twitter users, context collapse, and the imagined audience. New Media & Society, 13(1), 114-133.

Baym, N. K., & boyd, d. (2012). Socially mediated publicness: An introduction. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 56(3), 320-329. doi: 10.1080/08838151.2012.705200

Week 4 Research Methods in Social Media

Golder, S. A., & Macy, M. W. (2014). Digital Footprints: Opportunities and Challenges for Online Social Research. Annual Review of Sociology, 40(1), 129-152. doi: doi:10.1146/annurev-soc-071913-043145

Madden, A., Ruthven, I., & McMenemy, D. (2013). A classification scheme for content analyses of YouTube video comments. Journal of Documentation, 69(5), 693-714. doi: 10.1108/JD-06-2012-0078

Zimmer, M. (2010). “But the data is already public”: On the ethics of research in Facebook. Ethics and Information Technology, 12(4), 313-325. doi: 10.1007/s10676-010-9227-5

Week 5 Social Capital, Support, and Social Media

Chapter 6 in A Networked Self

Ellison, N. B., Steinfield, C., & Lampe, C. (2011). Connection strategies: Social capital implications of Facebook-enabled communication practices. New Media & Society, 13(6), 873-892. doi: 10.1177/1461444810385389

Ellison, N. B., Gray, R., Lampe, C., & Fiore, A. T. (2014). Social capital and resource requests on Facebook. New Media & Society, 16(7), 1104-1121. doi: 10.1177/1461444814543998

Week 6 Identity, Audience, and Performing the Self

Hall, J. A., Pennington, N., & Lueders, A. (2014). Impression management and formation on Facebook: A lens model approach. New Media & Society, 16(6), 958-982. doi: 10.1177/1461444813495166

Hogan, B. (2010). The Presentation of Self in the Age of Social Media: Distinguishing Performances and Exhibitions Online. Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society, 30(6), 377-386. doi: 10.1177/0270467610385893

Litt, E. (2012). Knock, knock. Who's there? The imagined audience. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 56(3), 330-345. doi: 10.1080/08838151.2012.705195

Week 7 Diverse Perspectives on Social Media

Brock, A. (2012). From the Blackhand side: Twitter as a cultural conversation. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 56(4), 529-549.

Lim, S. S., Vadrevu, S., Chan, Y. H., & Basnyat, I. (2012). Facework on Facebook: The online publicness of juvenile delinquents and youths-at-risk. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 56(3), 346-361. doi: 10.1080/08838151.2012.705198

O'Carroll, A. D. (2013). An analysis of how Rangatahi MÄORI use social networking sites. MAI Journal, 2(1), 46-59.

Week 8 Social Media and Collective Action

Tufekci, Z. (2013). “Not This One”: Social Movements, the Attention Economy, and Microcelebrity Networked Activism. American Behavioral Scientist, 57 (7), 848-870. doi: 10.1177/0002764213479369

Gleason, B. (2013). #Occupy Wall Street: Exploring Informal Learning About a Social Movement on Twitter. American Behavioral Scientist, 57(7), 966-982. doi: 10.1177/0002764213479372

Penney, J., & Dadas, C. (2014). (Re)Tweeting in the service of protest: Digital composition and circulation in the Occupy Wall Street movement. New Media & Society, 16(1), 74-90. doi: 10.1177/1461444813479593

Week 9 Social Surveillance and Facebook

Bucher, T. (2012). Want to be on the top? Algorithmic power and the threat of invisibility on Facebook. New Media & Society, 14(7), 1164-1180. doi: 10.1177/1461444812440159

Vickery, J. R. (2014). ‘I don't have anything to hide, but…': The challenges and negotiations of social and mobile media privacy for non-dominant youth. Information, Communication & Society, 18(3), 281-294. doi: 10.1080/1369118X.2014.989251

Marwick, A. E. (2012). The public domain: Social surveillance in everyday life. Surveillance & Society, 9(4), 378-393.

Week 10 Gaming, Gender and Families

Boudreau, K., & Consalvo, M. (2014). Families and social network games. Information, Communication & Society, 17(9), 1118-1130. doi: 10.1080/1369118X.2014.882964

Gray, K. L. (2011). Intersecting oppressions and online communities. Information, Communication & Society, 15(3), 411-428.

Kuznekoff, J. H., & Rose, L. M. (2013). Communication in multiplayer gaming: Examining player responses to gender cues. New Media & Society, 15(4), 541-556. doi: 10.1177/1461444812458271

Spring Break Week


Week 11 Social Media and Exploitation

Andrejevic, M. (2011). Social network exploitation. In Z. Papacharissi (Ed.), A networked self: Identity, community, and culture on social network sites (pp. 82-101). New York, NY: Routledge.

Postigo, H. (2014). The socio-technical architecture of digital labor: Converting play into YouTube money. New Media & Society. doi: 10.1177/1461444814541527

Martens, M. (2011). Transmedia teens: Affect, immaterial labor, and user-generated content. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 17(1), 49-68. doi: 10.1177/1354856510383363

Week 12 Celebrity Culture and Social Media

Marwick, A., & boyd, d. (2011). To see and be seen: Celebrity practice on Twitter. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 17(2), 139-158.

Click, M. A., Lee, H., & Holladay, H. W. (2013). Making Monsters: Lady Gaga, Fan Identification, and Social Media. Popular Music and Society, 36(3), 360-379. doi: 10.1080/03007766.2013.798546

Courbet, D., & Fourquet-Courbet, M.-P. (2014). When a celebrity dies …Social identity, uses of social media, and the mourning process among fans: the case of Michael Jackson. Celebrity Studies, 1-16. doi: 10.1080/19392397.2013.872361

Week 13 Peforming Gender

Eklund, L. (2011). Doing gender in cyberspace: The performance of gender by female World of Warcraft players. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 17(3), 323-342. doi: 10.1177/1354856511406472

Wotanis, L., & McMillan, L. (2014). Performing Gender on YouTube. Feminist Media Studies, 14(6), 912-928. doi: 10.1080/14680777.2014.882373

Week 14 Privacy and Intimacy

Litt, E., & Hargittai, E. (2014). Smile, snap, and share? A nuanced approach to privacy and online photo-sharing. Poetics, 42(0), 1-21. doi:

Marwick, A. E., & boyd, d. (2014). Networked privacy: How teenagers negotiate context in social media. New Media & Society, 16(7), 1051-1067. doi: 10.1177/1461444814543995

Yang, C.-c., Brown, B. B., & Braun, M. T. (2014). From Facebook to cell calls: Layers of electronic intimacy in college students’ interpersonal relationships. New Media & Society, 16(1), 5-23. doi: 10.1177/1461444812472486

Week 15 Phatic Culture and Narcissism

Chapter 12 in A Networked Self

Schandorf, M. (2012). Mediated gesture: Paralinguistic communication and phatic text. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies.

Miller, V. (2008). New media, networking and phatic culture. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 14(4), 387-400.

Week 16 Final Paper Presentations

Final paper presentations

Last Updated: April 15, 2015